Rowling and Measurements
England, being in Europe, began to use the metric system in 1965, and has continued to do so ever since. However JK Rowling, author of the classic Harry Potter series, has created a wizarding world in which they use ounces, pounds, stones, inches, feet, and miles, yet reside in England. Instinctively we ask why, and Rowling has answers.
Her reasoning begins with the idea that the Wizarding World is not governed by the decisions of the Muggle government, and therefore around the time when the Muggles began to switch over, witches and wizards felt no obligation to. The lack of switch didn’t really affect them anyway, since they had very limited interaction with the Muggle world, if not none at all. Many of the purebloods, such as the Malfoys, were also supposedly pleased with the lack of influence of the Muggles on their lives, as they already preferred distancing themselves from the non-magical part of the world.
As time went on, however, the only people that held back the switch to the now widely popular metric system were those passionate pure bloods. People like Lucius, according to Rowling, refused to give in to the Muggle ways, and shamed anyone who did, or wanted to. If ever asked for the length of their wand in centimeters rather than inches, they commonly accused that shop owner of being a blood traitor. Obviously not a preferable name. Therefore the same old structure of measurement remained, simply in order to avoid the fury of the powerful pure blood families, and an insulting title.
When Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first to be published, Rowling of course refused to switch the wizarding world to the metric system because of this little backstory. As a result, after its release she was offered the opportunity to join the British Weights and Measures Association, to her amusement. She personally laid no importance in switching Europe to the English system, and did fully support the metric; nevertheless, she joined for one reason, and one reason only: to infuriate her sister Di.
Being a sibling, her childish side couldn’t help but get the better of her when it came to her sister; she knew Di hated adherence to previous ways just for the sake of them. By joining, she had the opportunity to annoy her sister terribly with no price. 0.
You would do it too.
When Di found out, as Joanne’s membership was in the newspaper, Jo enjoyed herself a little too much. Her sister was, as she had expected, absolutely enraged, and Jo only paused her laughter to let her know it was a joke. That then only led her to become even more furious:)
Even JK Rowling’s human, with her very own occasional tendencies towards immaturity– she’s brilliant, but still very human :)